“Drinking Tequila is more about the journey than the destination.” ~ Rainbow Rowell
Mexican restaurants are a dime a dozen in the San Diego area, so I get really excited to see new restaurants making extra efforts to set themselves apart from the rest. Oceanside has a great new cantina called The Jalisco Cantina and it’s quickly becoming the new hot spot. I was first taken with the ambiance when I arrived. It’s a quaint little cantina with a beautiful backlit bar, copper bar top, cast iron legged tables (watch your knees!), brick, and reclaimed wood.
Jalisco is known for Tequila so I came in with high expectations for some great cocktails from their large selection of drinks. First up was the Cilantro Smash Margarita made with Blue Agave Tequila, Fresh Lime, Orange Curacao, Fresh Cilantro/ Lime Purée and Agave Nectar. The cilantro was a bit lost on me as it tasted more like a classic margarita, but even at that, it was a well balanced, and deliciously shaken margarita.
One cannot go into a cantina without having chips, guac, and salsa, so sticking with tradition, I eagerly awaited my order. The kitchen came out swinging with their chips which are crisp, salty and made fresh daily; a flavorful salsa verde and spicy red chile salsa with a little bit of heat; and a bright green bowl of guacamole. The salsas are both made in-house with either roasted tomatillos or roasted tomatoes, fresh vegetables, herbs and spices and are blended to perfection.The guac is a true star! Each bowl has three avocados, a lot of lime, fresh chunks of pico de gallo, and is made to order.
If you are a huge fan of avocado, you’ll love this cantina because they are very generous with sharing this magical green fruit. The Avocado Flautas are another great shareable appetizer and they have at least another two avocados in them. The flauta is crisp and these are tasty even though they fall apart.
Oh look at that, I’m thirsty again…bartender, I’ll have another please! Sticking with tequila, I moved on to the Blackberry Lemonade Margarita. This pretty purple drink has Blue Agave Tequila, Fresh Lemon, Simple Syrup, and Blackberry Liqueur. It’s sweet, citrusy, and well balanced. Plus I love their glassware!
I don’t know about you, but I love Elote, aka Mexican Street Corn. So, of course, I had to order the Elote Salad. The highlights of this salad were the corn off the cob, tortilla strips, pico de gallo, and most importantly cotija cheese. It’s fresh, light, and oh so delicious.
I barely left room for any entrees but I can’t go to a Mexican place without having some tacos or shrimp. Remember when I told you about how generous they are with their avocados? The grilled shrimp plate comes with more guacamole, off the cob corn, and pico de gallo. I personally loved that it was served with fresh ingredients and not the usual rice and beans. The shrimp were perfectly grilled. The carnitas tacos were missing some of the Orange and Cumin flavors I was hoping to taste but I enjoyed the build your own taco style plating so you can control the amounts of pico, cabbage, cheese, and crema per taco.
Are you salivating yet? If you answered yes and you’re in the Oceanside area, Jalisco Cantina is a great spot to stop in for some drinks and guac, my favorite!